Last night, eight people at three different massage spas were murdered in the Atlanta, GA. Six of the eight victims were Asian; the suspect in custody is White.
Supposedly, the killer told police he was trying to fight a sex addiction by targeting places that might “tempt” him. The fact that he specifically went to Asian spas and shot Asian women is suspicious–in the midst of a pandemic that the former US president again this week called “the China virus.”
Asian Americans have been unfairly targeted as somehow causing or spreading COVID-19. Hate crimes against this demographic group spiked 150% in the year since the pandemic began–nearly 3800 events were recorded, and that’s likely only a fraction of what actually occurred. Even in the Bay Area, with a substantial Asian population, there has been violence against Asian Americans in San Francisco, Oakland, and other neighborhoods.
Yet, the police spokesman who addressed the press last night said of the gunman, “He was having a bad day.”
When you’re having a bad day, you might snap at your spouse or significant other, be intolerant to your kids, act rudely to a grocery clerk, or even cut someone off on the freeway. But someone who deliberately murders innocent people at three different locations (and appears to have been headed south to Florida to wreak even more violence), is not having a bad day. They’re allowing unfounded bias and poor judgment to convince them to commit unspeakable crimes. It’s not their day that’s bad, it’s their character.
Trivializing a crime like this helps no one–except, perhaps, others with the same sick ideas. We all need to stand up and speak out for this group and others that are unfairly targeted because of their race, religion, ethnicity, or country of origin.
March 26, the anniversary of the Naturalization Act of 1790 has been designated as a day of peaceful protest against Asian American hatred and violence. Regardless of your ethnicity, it’s time to stand up and support our friends and neighbors.
It’s time to give bigots a bad day.
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